To boost the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of Plateau State, the government at the weekend signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with a private firm, Solbec Ltd, with the aim of resuscitating the moribund state-owned Panyam Fish Farm.
State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mrs. Linda Barau, said the new arrangement will be based on Public-Private-Partnership, PPP, between the state government and the private sector.
According to her, “the government’s effort is in line with its resolve to give the agricultural sector the topmost priority it deserves as a potentially great revenue earner for the state, especially in the face of dwindling oil revenue from the Federation Account“.
Panyam Fish farm, which was established about 65 years ago, is reputed to be Nigeria’s largest fish farm covering a land mass of 309 hectares, with the capacity to produce about 4.9 tonnes of fish and over 10 million fingerlings annually, but was abandoned by past governments in the state .
Also commenting on the development, Mr. Mark Longyen, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Simon Lalong on Media and Publicity, said the signing of the MOU was a watershed in the state government’s effort to boost both its agricultural sector and internally generated revenue.
Longyen noted that when it becomes fully operational, the farm’s annual revenue generating potential for the state will hit about N1.7 billion, which is about the equivalent of the state’s workers’ total monthly wage bill.
“Plateau State has huge aquatic and fisheries potentials, given its clement climatic conditions and myriads of tin mining ponds.
“The state has about 20 dams and reservoirs with an estimated water surface area of 673 hectares, as well as 12 natural lakes with a water surface area of about 365 hectares,” he said.
The farm, which is located in Mangu LGA in the Plateau Central Zone of the state, also has the potential to generate employment opportunities for many people in the state.
“It is expected that when the fish farm is fully back on stream, commercial activities, such as the buying and selling of the adult fish and or processing of same, as well as the marketing of the fingerlings across the country will reach an unprecedented level “.
The Governor’s Spokesman added that, of the over 1,000 abandoned mining ponds in the state, 24 have been certified fit for fish production and if all these potentials are fully harnessed, the state could produce 4.9 tonnes of fish per annum.
“On assumption of office, the Lalong administration identified three key sectors, namely, Agriculture, Solid Minerals mining and Tourism, in which the state has comparative advantage, to leverage on them and diversify the state’s economy to boost its internally generated revenue for rapid economic development “.
The Cyprinus Carpio species of freshwater fish farming commenced in Panyam in North Central Nigeria when it was brought from Austria before Nigeria’s independence in 1960 “ he further added.

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